Interspecies Interactions Resulting in Induced Antibiotic Production

Summer 2017

Yein Ra : Microbial Biology and Molecular & Cell Biology

Mentor: Matthew Traxler

Bacteria that make up the soil microbial community are a significant source of natural antibiotics. In particular, species of Streptomyces are well known for their capability to produce a plethora of antibiotics, and it has been observed that the production of these antibiotics is accelerated when Streptomyces is interacting with certain neighboring microbes. We have found that compared to other soil microbes, Arthrobacter species can more robustly induce antibiotic formation in Streptomyces. I am investigating the mechanism of how the interactions between species of Arthrobacter and Streptomyces result in enhanced antibiotic production, and I aim to determine a method that optimizes natural antibiotic production in Streptomyces species by studying these complex relationships.

My participation in this fellowship allowed me to do research full time this summer. It was the perfect opportunity to get a sense of what it is like to devote myself to research and engage with a project that I care much about. Furthermore, I had the chance to learn more in not only my field, but in the fields of others who were also a part of SURF. This experience has motivated me to continue doing research in graduate school and pursue a PhD.